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The Druid's Challenge

09-Nov-2018 Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire, UK (England)

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9 REVIEWS
Trail Race Race Terrain
135KM / 84Miles
3 Days - 140 Runners

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Intermediate  

Entry From £165 GBP

Extreme Energy are delighted to announce the Druid's Challenge a multistage race along the oldest roadway in the UK, dating back to 3000BC.

Starting in Buckinghamshire, competitors will make their way to Wiltshire over the course of three days, with two overnights in Watlington and Didcot.

The Ridgeway path takes in stunning views of quintessential southern English countryside including Ivinghoe Beacon.

You'll be following in the footsteps of travellers, herdsmen and soldiers who have used the Ridgeway since prehistoric times. Be entranced by the ancient landscapes, hidden valleys, beautiful downland and woodland.

Overnight accommodation, evening meal and breakfast is included for three day participants and is available at a supplement for one day participants.

The Druid's Challenge has been classified as a qualifying event for those aiming for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (one qualifying point awarded to finishers).

This event will suit those who want a new challenge, people looking for an alternative to running marathons, those training for events like the Marathon des Sables or anyone who loves seeing the beautiful English countryside.

Navigation and Support

The "Ridgeway" is a National Trail and has excellent markings in the form of signposts or post discs.

In addition, you will be given a "Route Card" which is designed to help on any tricky sections, to provide information on any route changes and to indicate where the checkpoints are.

The event is supported by a course manager to maintain event safety and to manage any serious incidents.

A fully qualified medical crew are in attendance, to give first aid and to manage any serious medical problems in cooperation with the emergency services.

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Event Organiser
Annie Dougall

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Beginner

Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.

Intermediate

Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Advanced

Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

Expert

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

Brutal

Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

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petem

09:54 06-12-17

2017
XNRG have been organising multi-day ultras for years now, and it shows. Neil and the team look after the runners brilliantly, without cosseting them. They provide no frills accommodation and providing breakfast and dinner during the race.
The Druids Challenge covers most of the Ridgeway national trail over three days. I found the trail surprisingly runnable, and even in late autumn very scenic. The staggered starts mean you are either chasing or being chased during each day, reducing the likelihood of not seeing another soul for hours on end for all but the back markers. The lack of cut-offs also makes for a very inclusive event - those out walking for 10 hours each day are made of sterner stuff than me.
Evening talks by accomplished runners provide some structure to the downtime between running/eating/sleeping. The other competitors are excellent company and very friendly, and have many stories to share to while away the hours.
I'd recommend XNRG events to everyone, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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2coldfingers

10:22 27-11-17

2017
The Druid’s Challenge was my 5th XNRG multiday event of the year; from that you can tell I am a fan of them! From the minute they pick you up at Tring Station until they drop you off at Swindon (if those are you choices) the team of Neil, Anna, Brian, Rich and Annie plus the dozens of volunteers do everything possible to make your three days ‘extreme’ experience as hassle free as possible; all you have to do is run or walk or a combination of both which is the likely choice for most.
The route is almost the whole of The Ridgeway (Strava told me 136.3k); I had never run on any of it before but I had crewed for my daughter on 2 other events I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to follow the route, the National Trail signposts and the extra signage the team had provided meant you would have to work very hard to get lost.
Also the actual track was more runnable than I had expected, not as many steep ascents or descents as I was expecting, once you had climbed the name ‘Ridgeway’ really was quite an accurate description, many miles of relatively flat trails. A few gnarly bits, but hey it would be a trail race without some places where you have to watch where you are putting your feet.
I choose to run all 3 days in the same pair of road shoes, my aging knees appreciate the extra cushioning they provide and although they might not have been ideal on day 2 it wasn’t too difficult to skirt around the muddier sections. You will find it useful to take some old newspaper to stuff your shoes with in case you have any wet conditions.
It is an event that is accessible to the widest possible range of competitors, with 3 different starting times each day an hour apart for walkers, ‘normal’ runners and ‘élites’ Your start on day 1 depends upon how long you think it will take you to cover a specific distance; on the next 2 days it depends upon how quickly you did cover the previous day.
In conclusion, you do not have to be fearful about tackling this 3 day event. None of the individual days are much over a marathon distance, sleeping on a gymnasium floor isn’t as bad as you might think; there is great camaraderie in the evening and at breakfast. I ran it as a 68 year old with a hernia waiting to be sorted, so you can do it!

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Neil

02:41 29-11-16

2016 - ran purely as MdS prep last year but returned again this year to have a proper crack at the race.

UK multi-day races simply don't get any better than this. Beautiful and challenging course. Excellent organisation. Fantastic atmosphere. XNRG really look after everyone whether you are an ultra or multi-day first timer or an experienced multi-day athlete.

The course is challenging (very tough if you are aiming to go quickly) but not intimidating. Checkpoints and marshals are first class. And the opportunity to hang out with fellow competitors each evening really adds to the whole experience.

Recommended without reservation!

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rach

11:48 06-01-16

I took part in the Druids in 2014...a really well organised event, a brilliant introduction to multi day racing and ideal preparation for the MDS. The organisers were friendly and helpful...certainly would recommend this event

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luigifumero

11:18 17-12-15

2015
If you are looking for a multi stage event I cannot recommend this highly enough. I enjoyed every moment of it.

The organisers do everything possible to make it as enjoyable as possible.
You are driven to and from train stations on the first and last day. Nice food is provided for you. The social aspects is half of the fun. Doctors are there to help and you can have sport massages too for a next to nothing cost.

Runners are divided in groups so that the fastest ones start last and there is a better chance for everyone to run and finish together.

The first day is the longest, almost 30 miles and it goes through some very nice hills and woodland. I did not like the last 10k much as they were flat, boggy and boring. Don't forget to bring a head torch on the first day if you are not very fast. I managed to beat the light, but any person not finishing in the top 20 will need a light.

The night is spent in a school in Watlington. Go for a shower as soon as you can as hot water might be an issue.

At 10pm the lights are switched off but sleeping is not very easy. Make sure you wear earplugs. I suggest you take a nice inflatable bad with you.

The second day is the shortest (just a bit over a marathon) and the first half for me was the best looking of the 3 days. Things might change depending on the weather, but when I ran it it rained all the 3 days so we did not get to see much of the scenery from the hills, which made the woodland and red leaves on the trail the best part of the race. Again the last 5k are probably the least fun of the day as it is on a pretty uninteresting field.

We were then driven to the leisure center in Wantage where we were staying for the night.

The rest of the day is spent resting, chatting with fellow runners and mending the various painful bits. In the evening there were some interesting talks to attend to. Especially if you are doing this race in preparation fo rthe MdS.

The third day is around 46k long. It starts a bit boring but it then gets really nice once the hills and woods appear.

At around 27km the route goes thorugh Liddington where we had to run on a big busy road which was not fun, but after that it's all very nice up and down hills. Being the end of the three days I suggest giving it all from there to finish strong.

At the end there is a crazy downhill road and then some road to the finish line.
It's an amazing feeling to complete the 3 days.

Be ready for a lot of mud and rain as it is November, but you will love every second of the week end. The Ridgeway is very beautiful and in the fall it probably gives its best.

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Laura

01:16 16-11-15

2015 - My first multi day event and first time with XNRG.
I was terrified about getting lost and didn't know anybody else racing however I needn't have worried. The route is really well marked and you can request a gpx route beforehand to download too. Plus you are surrounded with 100+ like minded nutters who have also decided that 3 days of running is a great idea (it was)
The entire XNRG team go above and beyond to look after you, I can't praise them highly enough. Everything from picking you up from the train station, ferrying your bags around, mountains of food at checkpoints and hot soup when you finish a rainy 28 miles - it is all taken care of.
Thank you XNRG :)

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jazsandalli

02:03 11-11-15

2015 - This is the second event I've done with XNRG, and I can't recommend them highly enough. The team always look after you as if you were family and every detail is covered - you can tell how much they enjoy running the events and how much pride they take in their work.
The Druids Challenge runs across the Ridgeway which is well marked with fingerposts and National Trust acorn signs, and with the easy to read route card as well it's pretty difficult to get lost. There are plenty of challenges in there - exposed terrain, hills, scree and lots of wind and rain - but the distances each day are manageable and there are well stocked checkpoints to refuel along the way. The evenings usually involve bedding down in a hall with all the other runners, and it's a lot of fun - like camping but with a little bit less mud :) Being immersed in the experience with 150 other people for three days is the cherry on the cake for me, and there are often guest speakers talking about their experiences of ultra runnign and the MDS as well. I'm still buzzing from this year and already can't wait to sign up for the next one.
Check out the Pilgrim Challenge in February as well - that goes over the North Downs Way and is 66 miles over two days in a similar format.

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DebbieSimpson

08:35 16-07-15

2012 - I did day 2 & 3 of the Druid Challenge as part of my training for the 2013 Marathon des Sables. Great event, extremely well organised and supported throughout. Flexible in allowing partial entry - I couldn't manage Friday off work so joined for the weekend. Tested myself with carrying kit but this was an option - the XNRG team transport your belongings between overnight venues. Sleeping on the floor in halls with a mass of runners is useful training for tent life during the MDS!

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Runmoor

05:27 28-04-15

2014 - The Druids Challenge is one of many fantastic back to back Ultra's run by the XNRG team. Neil and his family look after each and every runner right from the start. The passion really shines through any XNRG event. They are superb value for money. For the entry fee you get all accommodation and food, breakfast, checkpoint food, snacks on finish each day and a fantastic feast in the evening. You certainty won't go hungry over this three day event.

Don't expect too much sleep as accommodation is on school floors. The route takes in 84 miles of the beautiful 'Ridgeway' and is split almost evenly. It is easy to follow and very well signposted. It's achievable all on very good paths and not too hilly at all apart from a lovely hill in the last half mile on day 3.

A route guide is given at the start alongside the GPS route but you probably won't need any of them as it is very straight forward. There are enough runners to make this big enough to nearly always have someone near you but small enough to get to know people throughout the three days. Each checkpoint is well supported with the right sort of ultra food and drink.

The XNRG team will look after you at the end, help carry your bags, pamper you with cake and tea and supply hot showers at the finish. If you are after bling a brightly coloured techy tee and a medal goes down well too along side the satisfaction of running 84 miles over three days.

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